New Shands facility aims to serve all patient needs at one site


Michael Good and David Guzick cut the ribbon during the dedication ceremony at the new Springhill Shands facility on Thursday in Gainesville.

Elizabeth Hamilton / Correspondent
Published: Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 6:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 6:22 p.m.

Shands at the University of Florida on Thursday morning unveiled its new multi-specialty facility in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Springhill location on Northwest 39th Avenue.

The facility will include cardiology, dermatology, psychiatry, reproductive medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pain medicine, radiology, other medical and surgical specialties, along with laboratory and imaging services. It will be located at 8616 NW 39th Ave., across the street from Shands Rehab Hospital and Shands Vista Psychiatric Hospital. Gainesville's population is growing in that part of town.

"This is a health care complex to serve all needs of patients, whether behavioral health or medical," said Tim Goldfarb, CEO of Shands.

The Springhill facility, along with Shands' new primary-care facilities in both Jonesville and on Main Street, and the recently announced freestanding emergency department, also on 39th Avenue, constitute "an economic engine for the community" with significant job creation, he said.

The Springhill facility will employ 205 people, between faculty, residents, fellows and other staff. The 111,600-square-foot building, planned and built in two years, was a $35 million project.

Conceptually, the consolidation of specialty services under one roof is aimed at putting patients' needs first, said Dr. Marvin Dewar, senior associate dean of the UF College of Medicine and CEO of UF Physicians.

Dewar added that the "driving spirit" of the new facility draws upon the experience of a daughter tirelessly taking her elderly mother to doctors' visits.

"She was frantic to get her mom to visits, and it was hard to find her way from practice to practice," Dewar said, adding that every time the woman went to a new practice, she was asked to repeat basic information such as her address and phone number. "The question on her face was ‘Does it have to be this hard?'?"

Dewar said having many services at one place will streamline paperwork for patients.

The four-story building also is designed to be an uplifting environment for patients. One wall is nearly all windows to let in a lot of natural light, and the waiting rooms also have a lot of windows. Each department is painted in a different color, such as light blue in reproductive medicine and willow green in cardiology. Nature photographs hang on the walls, and LED lights on the stairwell walls and beneath the handrails are lit at night.

Bradley Pollitt, vice president of facilities at Shands, said the architectural concepts at the Springhill facility mirror those at the Shands Cancer Hospital.

"We're using glass and steel and getting away from the old brick. Part of this is trying to be a more sustainable building," Pollitt said, adding that these touches are ultimately aimed at enhancing patients' experiences. By having a lot of windows for example, "you get off the elevator and you see light. In the waiting rooms you have the ability to look out."

Dewar added, "We have forever delivered very, very competent care. When you add compassion and convenience to that, we are an unstoppable combination."

Decompressing the various specialities from Shands' main hospital on Archer Road will allow other departments there — such as surgery — to expand as needed, Dewar said.

He said he anticipates about 200,000 patient visits each year at the Springhill facility. The reproductive medicine department will start taking patients Dec. 28, and all departments will see patients by the end of January, he said.

Contact Kristine Crane at 338-3119 or kristine.crane@gvillesun.com.

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